Our perception of our bodies — whether positive, negative, or complicated — is intimately tied to our sex lives and sexual satisfaction, especially for women. I was interviewed by the folks at Bedsider about how negative body image can impact women’s sex lives…and what we can start doing to turn that around. This is excerpted from the article:
“Unfortunately, as most of us have probably figured out by now, we live in an effed up society where women and femmes are expected to conform to a strict set of rules about how to look (not to mention how to dress, talk, act, work, parent, not parent, and generally live our damn lives). And being constantly bombarded with these toxic messages can cause us to experience negative body image and low self-esteem. This is a big topic to unpack but because we’re us, we’re going to focus on how negative body image can affect us in bed, not just at the beach.
So we (virtually) sat down with Jennifer Gunsaullus, PhD, sociologist, intimacy coach, and the author of the forthcoming From Madness to Mindfulness: Reinventing Sex for Women (which has a chapter about body image, btw).
Here’s what she had to say:
Q: Can negative body image affect one’s sex life? If so, how?
A: Negative body image can absolutely undermine one’s sex life. At the core of body image concerns is shame implanted in us from societal messages, and carrying any shame into the bedroom can negatively impact sex. The less comfortable you are with your body, the less likely you will be to get naked, or want to have someone new see you naked. You may limit the sexual positions you’re willing to engage in, depending on how you think your body looks doing them, and also be more likely to only have sex in the dark or under the covers. Negative body image can serve as an ongoing distraction during sexual encounters because you’re experiencing sex as an object instead of a subject, making the interaction less present, intimate, and pleasurable. Carrying shame could also make you feel less worthy of receiving pleasure from another.
Q: If negative body image is hampering someone’s sex life, what can they do about it?”
Read the entire article about Is Negative Body Image Killing Your Sex Life at Bedsider.
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, Author, Sociologist, & Sexologist